The digital divide explains the gap in access to technology between the developed and developing worlds. While there are many barriers that contribute to this divide, a less mentioned factor is the lack of security many feel on the Internet and on their own computers. Being able to safely navigate the web, avoiding phishing scams, viruses and fraudulent sites requires a decent amount of skill and experience. The security features that make routine tasks, like browsing the web and sending e-mails, are complex and not easily navigable, which can be very overwhelming (Bridging the Digital Divide).
A study completed in Uganda, surveyed respondents’ perception on barriers to computer and Internet usage. 55% of the people surveyed noted that lack of security online factors into their ability to access the Internet. The upkeep involved in maintaining security requires consistent personnel and if there is not someone available to maintain the features protecting the computers. Beyond the psychological factors contributing to the lack of security people experience online, is the physical detriment it can cause to the technologies. The consequences of not maintaining security can cause a major inconvenience. For example, farmers using Internet access to monitor weather patterns may run into a problem if the anti-virus software hadn’t been updated, and they were in need of information regarding an upcoming storm. If they were unable to access the information, it could devastate their crops, and thus disrupt their income for that period of time. It is evident that the complex measures needed to maintain security are a barrier to access and individual’s lack of comfort with Internet safety in general contribute to the continuation of the digital divide.